fun to say.
fun to eat.
When Giovanna suggested that we do a co-post (have you tried that ragu sauce yet?), recreating a favorite food from our childhood, Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts® came to mind immediately. Few childhood treats pack more mouth-watering nostalgia than these flaky, spicy, sweet pastries. And the idea of homemade pop tarts, yes, that sounded perfect. For Giovanna, apple pie came to mind. She wrote:
I love the American apple pie I think it is so delicious ( I used to love also the McDonald’s one) and I remembered how my mom used to prepare it when I was little ….
Okay, I admit, those McDonald’s pies are pretty good. But I can’t wait to see Giovanna’s homemade version.
I consulted several sources to create this recipe – Deb of Smitten Kitchen’s version, the original (with an ingredient list to remind me that ignorance is bliss), and this version from Jonathan Melendez of The Candid Appetite, (presented in a pictorial extravaganza that makes me feel like a complete slouch).
What I ended up with was a lovely, pliable, flaky, whole grain pastry dough that I’ll turn to repeatedly for future dishes.
I believe the keys are a higher butter to flour ratio than typical pastry and the use of egg and cream instead of water to bind the dough. But, I must tell you there is a downside.
These ‘toaster’ pastries may be too flaky and delicate for a classic toaster. I fear that many tasty layers would pile into the bottom of your toaster instead of melting on your tongue. ‘Toaster-Oven Pastries’ perhaps? It just doesn’t have the same ring.
Note: I recommend that you bake these when you plan to eat them. Freeze the rest, then thaw them in the refrigerator before baking.
For the Pastry:
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cut into large chunks, 2 1/4 pound sticks
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons cream
For the Filling:
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the Egg Wash:
- 1 egg lightly beaten
For the pastry:
- Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut in butter until butter is about the size of Lima beans (peas are too small!)
- In a small bowl, whisk egg and cream together. Slowly add to flour and butter mixture, using a fork to combine.
- Turn dough out on to a work surface and knead gently just until it comes together. Cut dough in two equal pieces and shape each into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour and up to 2 days.
To make the filling:
- Whisk the sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside.
When you’re ready to assemble:
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove pastry dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface. (If it’s very cold, let it warm just until workable.) Roll out one half of dough into a 12-inch x 8-inch rectangle, 1/8″ thick. Trim edges with a pasta or pizza cutting wheel. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise and into quarters crosswise to make 8 equal pieces – 3-inches by 4-inches each. Transfer rectangles to prepared baking sheet.
- Repeat rolling and cutting second half of dough.
- Brush pastry on baking sheet all over with beaten egg. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of 8 dough rectangles, leaving 1/4 inch of bare dough around the edge. Place a second sheet of dough over each rectangle.
- Use your fingers to press and seal dough edges. Then press the tines of a fork all around the edges to seal completely.
- Prick the top of each pastry several times with a fork or toothpick.
- Place pastries on the baking sheet in to the refrigerator while you preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (no need to cover them)
- When oven is hot and pastries are cold, transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until flaky and light golden brown. Serve warm.